Investigation finds Houston ISD intentionally underserved students with disabilities
- Only 7.26% of HISD students are enrolled in special education programs—significantly lower than the national average of 13%—and students of color in particular suffer from under-identification for special education services.
- While HISD officials praise the statistic as an example of the effect of early intervention, an investigation by the Houston Chronicle finds that the low rate was achieved through deliberate discouragement, delay of student evaluation, position elimination, and budget cuts, effectively denying fair education to students in need.
- The decrease in service to students with disabilities came as a result of an arbitrary benchmark (8.5%) for special education enrollment that the Texas Education Agency set unscientifically, but HISD went further to set even lower standards after that goal was met.
“Denied: Houston schools systematically block disabled kids from special ed” (The Houston Chronicle)
“Angry parents in Houston and Dallas turn out at forums, demanding end to special education target” (The Houston Chronicle)
Source: KXAN YouTube
U.S. Feature | Students with Disabilities (Outlas)
Republican legislators look to do away with tuition set-aside programs in upcoming session
- Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick indicated as a priority for 2017 ending programs that set aside tuition dollars for financial aid for low-income students at higher education institutions, arguing that the law is a “hidden tax” on wealthy and middle-class families.
- Two such programs currently exist: one that began following the deregulation tuition in 2003 that required 15-20% of tuition increases to be set aside for aid, and another from 1975 requiring 15% of the first $50 charged per semester hour go to financial aid.
- Democrats and experts have argued that ending the programs without a simultaneous investment of state funding (an estimated $345 million) would make higher education inaccessible for lower-middle and low-income students, disproportionately impacting black and Latino students and institutions.
“Lt. Gov. Patrick favors scrapping key college financial aid program; many lawmakers unsure” (The Houston Chronicle)
“How Dan Patrick’s plan to slash tuition grants could keep some Texans from college” (The Dallas Morning News, August 2016)
“Lt. Gov. Patrick Slams Universities for Tuition Increases” (The Texas Tribune, April 2016)